People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. The term obesity is used to describe the health condition of anyone significantly above his or her ideal healthy weight. Being obese puts you at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. For some time, scientists have suspected that excess fat tissue, especially around the waist, has a direct effect on heart structure and function, even in the absence of other heart disease risks. To pursue this theory, researchers evaluated 950 older individuals of varying weights for signs of left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction. This condition is characterized by changes to the structure of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle), which prevent it from filling sufficiently between beats.

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